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Your Ultimate Guide to How to Travel to China

travels in China

Alright, ladies, hold on to your hats because we’re about to embark on an epic journey into the land of dragons and dumplings, the one and only China! (Insert enthusiastic applause here)

China, oh China, with its vast landscapes and rich history, is like a giant playground for adventurous souls like us. From the iconic Great Wall that stretches for miles (and we mean miles) to the bustling streets of Beijing where the hustle is real, this country has a little something for everyone.

In our comprehensive guide, to learning how to get to China, we won’t just scratch the surface, oh no. We’re diving headfirst into the intricacies of this nation that loves tradition just as much as it loves modernity. Buckle up, ladies, because we’re about to navigate the complexities of visas (yep, dealing with bureaucracy and paperwork is part of the adventure) and immerse ourselves in the local customs. We’ll equip you with all the knowledge and tools you need to make your journey to China not only memorable but oh-so-enriching.

Now, let’s talk about the real allure of China. It’s not just about those iconic landmarks, it’s about the people (who are as warm as a cozy blanket on a cold night), the food (prepare your taste buds for a rollercoaster ride), and the cultural traditions that have stood the test of time (like yoga pants on a long-haul flight).

Importance of Obtaining the Right Visa for China

Importance of Obtaining the Right Visa for China

Alright, ladies, listen up! Before you pack your bags and jet off to the land of dragons and dumplings, there’s one important thing you need to take care of – that elusive Chinese visa. Cue dramatic music

Obtaining the right visa for China isn’t just some bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo; it’s a crucial step in your travel preparations. China takes its immigration rules seriously, and trust me, you don’t want to mess with them. Getting denied entry or ending up in legal trouble is definitely not on our fearless traveler agenda!

Now, let’s talk about the different types of visas China offers. We’ve got options, ladies! Check out these popular ones:

  • Tourist Visa (L Visa): You wanna explore the Great Wall, sightsee like a boss, or visit friends and family? Then the L Visa is your go-to choice.
  • Business Visa (M Visa): Got some important business-related activities lined up? Meetings, conferences, showing off your expertise? Well, then, you’ll need an M Visa to handle that boss babe business.
  • Student Visa (X Visa): Planning to study in China? Get ready to rock that X Visa, but hey, make sure you have an acceptance letter from a Chinese educational institution. Education is power, ladies!
  • Work Visa (Z Visa): If you’re heading to China for work, you’ll need a Z Visa. And guess what? This usually requires a job offer from a Chinese employer. You go, girl!

Now that we’ve covered our visa options, let’s break it down, step-by-step, because we’re all about empowering you to conquer that Chinese visa mountain like a fearless warrior:

Determine the type of visa you need: Figure out your purpose in China – is it for pleasure, business, education, or work? Choose the visa category that matches your amazing plans.

Step By Step on Getting A Visa 

#1 Gather the required documents

Get ready to play detective and gather all the necessary documents. You’ll need a valid passport (duh!), a completed visa application form, passport-sized photos (because we all know you slay every photo), and supporting documents like an invitation letter, flight itinerary, hotel reservations, and all that good stuff.

#2 Fill out the visa application form

Pay attention to the details, ladies. Accuracy is key here. Fill out that visa application form like the boss babe you are, making sure everything matches your supporting documents. We believe in you!

#3 Submit your application

Time to hand in that application, honey! Head to the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate, or some countries even have visa processing centers. Choose the option that suits you best and rock that submission.

#4 Pay the visa fee

Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy you a visa. Every type of visa comes with its own fee, so pay up, my fabulous friend. The price may vary depending on the visa type, processing time, and your nationality. Keep those wallets ready!

#5 Attend an interview (if required)

Sometimes life throws us curveballs, and you may be asked to attend an interview or provide additional information. Don’t worry, you got this. Just remember to bring your charm and confidently answer any questions thrown your way.

#6 Wait for processing

Patience is a virtue, they say. The processing time can vary, so be prepared and apply well in advance of your travel date. We wouldn’t want any last-minute panic attacks, would we?

#7 Collect your visa

Drumroll, please! Once your visa is approved, it’s time to collect that precious piece of paper. Head over to the embassy or consulate, or sit back, relax, and wait for it to be mailed to you if that’s the service you choose. Celebrate like the globe-trotting rockstar you are!

But wait, don’t think you’re done just yet! Visa regulations can change faster than you can say “wanderlust.” Stay up-to-date with the latest requirements and procedures by checking the official website of the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country. Better yet, consult with a reputable travel agency or visa service provider who can keep you in the loop and assist you throughout the application process.

Choosing Your Travel Dates to China

Choosing Your Travel Dates to China

Hey, ladies! If you’re planning a trip here, you better get your timing right! Because let’s face it, no boss babe wants to deal with hot and humid summers or freezing winters.

Fortunately, we’ve got your back! For mild and comfortable weather, head there during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). That way, you can absolutely slay your travel game while strolling through the country’s stunning scenery.

But hey, if you want to immerse yourself in local traditions and customs, consider visiting during the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), the Lantern Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival. These festivals are lit, but keep in mind, that they can also be crowded, so plan accordingly.

Now, let’s talk about snagging some affordable flight deals! Who doesn’t love to save money, am I right?

First up, use fare comparison websites like Google Flights or Skyscanner to compare prices from multiple airlines and booking sites. You never know, you might just find a sweet deal that won’t break the bank.

It’s also important to be flexible with your travel dates. Flights can be significantly cheaper on certain days of the week or during off-peak seasons. So, keep your options open, and use the flexible date search option on fare comparison websites to identify the most cost-effective travel windows.

Another pro tip is to book in advance! Booking your flight well in advance can result in lower prices. Keep an eye out for airline promotions and sales and set up fare alerts to receive notifications when prices drop. You’ll be out there living your best life in no time!

And finally, consider nearby airports for departure and final destinations in China. Sometimes, smaller airports or those in neighboring cities offer better deals. So, you might end up saving some cha-ching and finding more adventure!

With these tips and tricks for finding affordable flights, and understanding the best times to visit China, you’ll be well on your fearless way to planning an epic and budget-friendly trip to the Middle Kingdom.

Finding Accommodations in China

Accommodations in China


Let’s talk about hotels first. China knows how to pamper its guests. From the lavish 5-star wonderlands in buzzing cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to the more wallet-friendly options, there’s no shortage of choices.


Now, if you’re more of an adventurous soul or a penny-pincher, hostels are where the fun begins. These communal havens offer a variety of room types, from shared dormitories to private hideaways, all at a fraction of the cost of a hotel.


Ah, the rising star of the travel accommodation scene, Airbnb! This gem has caught the attention of  cosmopolitan cities. With its diverse range of options, including cozy apartments, charming homes, and even quirky stays, Airbnb gives you the chance to soak up the local vibes and experience your destination like a true insider.

Tips for the Perfect Choice

Now that we’ve covered the options, let’s delve into some tips for finding your dream accommodations.


First things first, think about what floats your boat. Are you a history fanatic? If so, staying in the heart of Beijing’s historic district will send tingles down your spine. For shopaholics and nightlife enthusiasts, vibrant areas like Shanghai’s Nanjing Road will make your heart skip a beat. And if tranquility is what you seek, venture outside the cities to discover the serenity of scenic areas.


Money talks, honey. Set a budget and stick to it! Prices can shoot up or drop depending on the city and the time of year. Planning ahead and booking in advance can save you some cold hard cash.


They can make or break your accommodation choice. If you need a gym to stay on top of your fitness game or a spa for some therapeutic pampering, hotels are your go-to.


Don’t just take anyone’s word for it. Scope out those reviews like a pro. Check out what previous guests have to say on booking websites or apps. Pay attention to cleanliness, staff friendliness, and overall guest satisfaction.

Booking Made Easy

  • This powerhouse offers a wide range of accommodations, from luxurious hotels to cozy hostels and charming vacation rentals. Plus, they often throw in free cancellation options and boast a user-friendly interface. Score!
  • Agoda: If you’re craving an Asian travel specialist, then Agoda is the one for you. They’ve got the hook-up for finding delightful accommodations across China. And get this, they frequently offer those exclusive discounts and deals we’re all after.
  • Expedia: Want to save some moolah? Expedia is your answer. They allow you to book flights and hotels together, potentially saving you some serious bucks. And if you’re a frequent traveler, their loyalty program is the cherry on top.
  • Ctrip (aka Group): Let’s talk about a Chinese travel giant, Ctrip. They’re one of the country’s biggest online travel agencies, which means they’ve got the inside scoop on accommodations within China. Their variety of options and tailored-to-China deals make them a no-brainer. Although you will need Google Translate on this site.
  • Airbnb: Of course, we can’t forget about our trusty Airbnb. They’ve spread their wings all over China, offering unique and local accommodation options. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the culture and experience a more personalized travel journey, Airbnb’s got you covered.

So, ladies, by considering your preferences, budget, and the purpose of your trip, as well as tapping into these booking websites and apps, finding the perfect accommodation in China will be a breeze.

Packing and Travel Essentials for China

Packing and Travel Essentials for China

Now, it’s time to tackle the oh-so-important topic of packing for China’s wild climate variations. Strap in, because this checklist is gonna have you covered from sweltering heat to chilly winters.

First off, let’s talk clothing:

  1. Lightweight, breathable clothing: China’s summers can get hot and humid, so pack those breezy outfits like your life depends on it. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to keep that sweat at bay.
  2. Layers, baby: Temperatures can swing wildly, especially in the spring and autumn. So be prepared and pack some versatile clothing that can be layered for warmth or peeled off for comfort.
  3. Walk it out: China involves a lot of walking, my fearless adventurers, so don’t skimp on comfortable walking shoes. Sturdy, supportive footwear is key to conquering those various terrains.
  4. Rain, rain, go away: Depending on when and where you’re traveling, rain gear might be your best friend. Toss a compact umbrella or a waterproof jacket in your bag just in case the heavens decide to open up.
  5. Winter is coming: If you’re one of those brave souls venturing to colder regions or visiting during the winter, don’t forget to pack those winter essentials. Heavy coat? Check. Gloves? Check. Hat? Double check. You’ll be cozy as heck.

Now, let’s move on to the travel essentials.

  1. Power adapters: China’s got its own little plug party going on with Type A, Type C, and Type I plugs. Make sure you’ve got the right adapter for your devices, or you’ll be left begging for a charge.
  2. VPN to the rescue: Oh, China and its internet restrictions. Don’t you worry, my internet-savvy ladies, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) will help you bypass those pesky blocks and keep you connected to the outside world. Because staying connected is always a win.
  3. Travel insurance: Look, I’m not trying to be a downer here, but accidents happen. Get yourself some comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage.
  4. Prescription meds like a boss: If you’re on any prescription medications, make sure you bring enough to last you through your trip. And don’t forget to pack a copy of your prescription, just in case the world needs proof that you’re keeping it together.
  5. First-aid kit: You never know when a bandage or pain reliever might come in handy. Trust me, be ready for those unexpected bumps and boo-boos. Pack some bandages, pain relievers, antacids, and any personal medications or treatments you might need.

Alright, now that we’ve got the essentials checked off, let’s tackle the sometimes-tricky task of dressing appropriately in different regions:

  1. Keep it modest, sister: While China may be in the 21st century, it still appreciates some good old-fashioned modesty. When visiting temples, mosques, or rural areas, avoid rocking that “show-everything-you’ve-got” look. Keep it classy.
  2. Formal occasions call for conservative attire: If you’re planning to attend fancy schmancy events or visit religious sites, pack your go-to conservative attire. Play it safe with long pants, a skirt, or a top with sleeves. You’ll be turning heads without stealing the show.
  3. Cultural sensitivity is a must: Show some respect to the locals by researching the customs and dress codes of the regions you’ll be exploring. In Tibet, for example, rocking a white scarf, or “khata,” when meeting locals is the name of the game.
  4. Footwear flexibility: When entering homes, temples, or certain businesses, you might be asked to remove your shoes. Ain’t nobody got time for complicated lacing systems when taking off their shoes, right? Opt for easily removable footwear and save yourself the hassle.
  5. Get traditional, girl: If you get the chance to try on traditional clothing, go for it! Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. In some areas, you might get to slip on a qipao, hanfu, or some other fabulous regional attire.

Alright, y’all, now that you are armed with your varied wardrobe options and knowledge of regional climates and customs, you’re ready to conquer China like the boss you are.

Key Cultural Norms and Customs

Let’s be real, understanding and respecting its customs is essential for you to rock that epic solo adventure. Here are some key cultural norms and customs to keep in mind:

  1. Respect for Elders: Just like your Aunt Mildred, who thinks she knows everything because she’s been around the block a few times, Chinese society places a high value on respecting older individuals. And no, it’s not just because they have wrinkled wisdom. So, don’t forget to show deference and courtesy to those with a few more wrinkles than you.
  2. Collectivism: Repeat after me: “Me, myself, and I” should sometimes take a backseat in China. Yep, this is a land where collectivism rules the roost. So, remember, the needs of the group often come before your fabulous individual desires. Time to embrace your social butterfly side!
  3. Hierarchy: You’ve got your boss, your boss’s boss, and a whole hierarchical ladder to climb. Well, you’ll find a similar setup in China, whether it’s in the family, the workplace, or a social gathering. So, channel your inner brown-noser because deferring to those in authority or senior positions is the name of the game.
  4. Face: No, we’re not talking about the face you put on every morning with brushes and powders. In China, “face” or “mianzi” is a big deal. It’s all about reputation, dignity, and social standing. So, unless you want to make enemies faster than you can say “panda bear,” avoid embarrassing or criticizing someone publicly and causing them to “lose face.” Trust me, it’s not a pretty picture.
  5. Guanxi: Building and maintaining relationships, or as the Chinese call it, “guanxi,” is the bridge that can take you places. Seriously, it’s like having a VIP pass to the coolest parties in town. So, get your networking skills ready and make some meaningful connections because these relationships can open doors you never even knew existed.

Explaining the Significance of Concepts like “Face” and Respect for Elders

Understanding these cultural concepts is key to smooth sailing:

“Face”: Picture this: a delicate balance of reputation, dignity, and social standing. Mess with someone’s “face,” and you won’t be invited to their dim sum feast anytime soon. So, unless you’re in the business of making frenemies, refrain from public confrontation or criticism. Nobody wants to end up with a swarm of angry bees on their hands.

Respect for Elders: Grandma always said, “Respect your elders, young lady!” Well, turns out she was right. Elders are highly esteemed in Chinese culture, thanks to their wisdom and life experience. So, show them some love by addressing them with the proper titles, offering them your seat, and, most importantly, listening to their tales of yore. You might just learn a thing or two.

Offering Tips on Polite Behavior and Interacting with Locals

To make the most of your interactions with the locals, here are some friendly tips:

  • Greetings: Time to bust out your best “Ni hao” (Hello) when meeting someone for the first time. And don’t forget that polite nod or slight bow, especially when saying hi to your new elder buddies. They’ll appreciate the effort.
  • Gift Giving: It’s gift-giving time! But before you go handing out bottles of tequila (they’ll love that, right?), remember to offer gifts with both hands as a sign of respect. Pro tip: avoid giving clocks (apparently, they symbolize death) and sharp objects (because, bad luck, duh).
  • Dining Etiquette: Did someone say food? Oh, baby, you’re in for a treat! But before you dig into that plate of deliciousness, hold up. Follow the lead of your host and wait for them to start eating. And hey, be chopstick cautious – no pointing them at others or leaving them sticking upright in a bowl. You’re not hosting a funeral, after all.
  • Public Behavior: Keep your cool, girlfriend! Maintaining a calm and composed demeanor in public is the name of the game. So, leave the wild and crazy antics for your solo dance parties in your hotel room. Trust me, nobody wants to see your interpretive dance skills at the Great Wall.
  • Tipping: Sorry to break it to you, but the tipping culture in China is a bit different. Tipping is not a common practice, especially in local restaurants. So, don’t go flashing that tip money like you’re in a rap video. Instead, check your bill for a service charge – it’s sneaky like that.
  • Language: Now’s the time to dust off your language skills and learn a few Mandarin phrases. Impress the locals with your gratitude by saying “xie xie” (thank you) and make your requests super polite with a sprinkle of “qing” (please). Who needs Google Translate?

By respecting these cultural norms and customs, you’re not just a tourist, you’re a cultural ambassador! So, let’s embrace the glorious mishmash of traditions and throw ourselves headfirst into understanding and respecting the customs of this vibrant country.

So, what are you waiting for? China is open and ready to welcome you with its mix of ancient wonders and bustling modernity. Prepare for some seriously unforgettable experiences, from the iconic Great Wall to the delicious (and sometimes daring) cuisine to the kindness of its people.

Are you ready to seize the opportunity and embark on the adventure of a lifetime? We’re here to cheer you on every step of the way. So, what are you waiting for? Get packing, gather your travel squad, and get ready to experience the wonder and discovery that China has to offer! Safe travels!

Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful for your trip to China:

Visa Information

  • Visa Application Center of the People’s Republic of China: This official website provides information on Chinese visa application procedures, requirements, and updates. It’s a valuable resource for understanding the visa application process.
  • Embassy of the People’s Republic of China: The official website of the Chinese Embassy in your country will have up-to-date information on visa requirements and regulations specific to your nationality.
  • Travel Apps and Websites
  • offers a comprehensive platform for booking flights, hotels, and tours in China. It’s a go-to resource for travelers looking for deals and convenience.
  • Ctrip (now part of Group): Ctrip, one of China’s largest online travel agencies, provides an extensive range of travel services, including flight and hotel bookings. It’s especially useful for those traveling within China.
  • Google Translate: Google Translate can help bridge language barriers by providing real-time translations. Download language packs for offline use to navigate China more easily.
  • offers detailed offline maps of China, which can be invaluable for navigating cities and remote areas without an internet connection.

Further Reading and Resources

Lonely Planet China by Lonely Planet: This comprehensive guidebook offers detailed information on various aspects of travel in China, from culture and history to practical tips.

China: A History by John Keay: Gain a deeper understanding of China’s rich history, which will enhance your appreciation of its cultural landmarks.

Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation by J. Maarten Troost: A humorous and insightful travelogue that provides a unique perspective on China.

Travel Forums: Websites like TripAdvisor and Reddit’s travel-related subreddits (such as r/travel and r/China) are excellent resources for gathering travel advice, tips, and recommendations from fellow travelers.

Local Blogs and YouTube Channels: Search for local blogs and YouTube channels focused on China travel. These sources often provide insider insights and recommendations for off-the-beaten-path experiences.

These resources should assist you in obtaining the necessary information and help you make the most out of your trip. Happy travels in China, and always remember to Travel Till You Drop! 

Book Your Trip : Check Out My Resources for Your Travel Needs


Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.  This is my very first stop when I’m looking for my next trip. It’s a fast, easy-to-use search engine that is perfect for finding an affordable flight, a perfect hotel, and the right rental car for you in locations around the globe.

Book Your Accommodation

If you are looking for a super budget friendly location and are open to a hostel stay, make sure you book your hostel with Hostelworld. It offers the broadest range of quality hostels around the world. 

If you’d prefer a hotel or a guesthouse for stays less than 28 days, drop on over to It’s perfect for providing excellent options, a ton of user reviews, and prices to fit every budget.

For stays over 28 days, AirBnB still remains my #1 choice. User reviews and monthly pricing allow for some incredible deals all around the world.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is but a small up-front investment that you won’t want to leave home without. After just one experience of having to delay or cancel your trip or having your luggage stolen, you’ll wish you would have made that investment.  I’ve hated my life a few times when the moment arose, and I decided to skip out.  Let’s just say, I’ve changed my ways and recommend each of the following companies to protect your ass-ets.

My favorite companies are:         

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About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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